When I wrote about Star Trek: Discovery, I hadn’t yet started to watch The Orville, but the more horrible the official Star Trek got, the more I was interested in watching the “knock-off”. I was a bit reluctant at first, since I never liked MacFarlane’s 2 biggest shows; Family Guy and American Dad. But I jumped over my shadow and gave it a go together with my boyfriend, neither of us really expecting that much, although the reviews for the show were beyond great. We were not disappointed!
The first episode starts off with a very brief but important backstory for the main character Ed Mercer, played by Seth MacFarlane himself, and from there on introduces the main cast by name and job on the Orville. That’s more than Discovery had managed to do over halfway into season 2, which is embarrassing to say the least. The show is episodic, just like the old Star Trek series, with the main story being developed throughout every situation the crew finds themselves in. On top of that, every main member of the crew gets an entire episode for themselves that fits seamlessly into the main story and thus doesn’t feel forced. This is in stark contrast to Discovery, where Michael Burnham is still the main character, and even episodes like the ones that focused on Ariam and Saru didn’t help much. While I did enjoy getting to know more about Saru, the story about Ariam felt forced and out of place, and when she [SPOILER] died [SPOILER], I didn’t feel sad at all, because I barely got to spend 2 episodes with her. That’s the main difference between Orville and Discovery that I really like. I care about the Orville crew, but not about the Discovery one.
On top of that, the Orville crew has a way better chemistry. They all know each other, learn new things about one another, and even though they don’t always get along in the way they would want to, they do their best. Discovery does nothing. Even the relationship between Michael and Spock that is one of the main premises in season 2 feels awkward and forced.
Another thing that I really like about the Orville is, that every episode tries to deal with issues we have in the real world, which it does remarkably well. While Discovery is all about an oh so mysterious red angel from an oh so mysterious world (not really though, everything is so obvious), Orville deals with subjects such as religion, social media craze, gender issues, culture barriers and a lot more of that sort. While it might sound like dark and heavy topics, the upbeat and positive crew makes every episode fun to watch. They handle the issues in their own way, and the outcome is never one I could predict.
Overall, Orville really IS the Star Trek that Discovery failed so hard to deliver, and I’m really happy that I started watching it. Though only the first season is available here, I can’t wait to watch season 2, and I really hope that MacFarlane gets to do a season 3. It feels like the guy finally grew up a little, and his love for the old Star Trek series really shines through here. So much so, that I actually don’t want to watch Discovery anymore. At all. We’re currently 1 or 2 episodes behind, and I don’t feel the need to catch up with it.
So yeah, I really want to recommend The Orville, especially to those who feel disappointed with Discovery, but also to those who have never watched the old Star Trek. It’s an easy show to get into, and it has a lot more to offer than one would think.